Tonight's UFC event in Albquerque can be summed up in one word - weird. I'm going to write a lot more than that, but the show just had a variety of strange situations and stuff you definitely don't see every day inside the octagon. From an abundance of fouls to horrible judging to a former champion's first UFC finish, it was just a head scratcher from start to finish.
The main event lightweight bout between Ben Henderson and Rustam Khabilov was quite interesting until the fight was wrapped up with the quickest of finishes. Khabilov was having a decent night through three and could have been ahead on the cards (I personally had it 29-28 Henderson at that point) but Henderson was his steady self. And when he caught Khabilov with a vicious combination against the cage, he acted quickly. The way he jumped on his back and sunk the choke in about a second was extremely impressive, and it was good to see him finally get a finish. The bout won't do a ton for his ranking, but it was a solid win.
So - how about that decision? We all know that Diego Sanchez got handled by Ross Pearson. There's not much of a case to give Sanchez any of the three rounds, and almost every media member had it 30-27 Pearson. There was talk of a hometown decision, but it looked for all the world like that would not be happening. There was no way it could be justified.
And then it did happen.
One of the judges had it 30-27 Sanchez. That person (Jeff Collins) should never judge another fight. Ever. It's not even hyperbole to say that it's one of the worst, if not the worst, scorecard in the history of the UFC. The 29-28 score from another judge (Chris Tellez) is not far behind. That was a straight up robbery. We talk about robberies a lot, but this should become the definition of one. It was absolutely absurd and I feel horrible for Ross Pearson. I was just laughing in disbelief for at least five minutes. It's truly unbelievable.
- John Dodson hits hard. This is not some big secret. But that knee/kick that broke John Moraga's face was brutal. The guy has a heavyweight-sized personality and his post-fight speech was awesome. He absolutely should get the winner of the Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov fight next weekend.
- Jason High might be in some trouble. I understand the frustration that will arise when your fight is stopped prematurely. High definitely had his bell rung, but he was alert and not in any more danger. Plus, Rafael dos Anjos was hitting him in the back of the head with nary a warning. But pushing the referee is a huge no-no and I hope it doesn't cost him his job.
- Piotr Hallmann is a tank of a lightweight. But while the finish was very nice and he looked quite good, the story of the fight in my eyes was the eye pokes. He connected with two of them, and still wouldn't close his hands. The fact that Edwards poked him right back was pretty funny though, even if it was unintentional.
- Did Bryan Caraway actually fish hook Erik Perez? It certainly looked that way to me. Big win for him, but there's always something odd happening in his fights. In addition to that, calling out two guys (Michael McDonald and Eddie Wineland) coming off losses wasn't the brightest idea.
- The undercard was largely forgettable. The fight between Sergio Pettis and Yaotzin Meza was horrible, as was the Lance Benoist vs. Bobby Voelker bout. Scott Jorgensen's chin continues to degrade. And the way Jon Tuck finished Jake Lindsey (a heel kick to the liver/ribs from back mount) is something I've never, ever seen before. And likely never will again. Oh yeah, Patrick Cummins won too. Yay.